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Assessing Advertising Programs

by Tash Hughes of Word Constructions (www.wordconstructions.com

You want to grow your business and have been advertising to let more people know about your products or services. Thatís great, but you want your advertising to be as effective as possible to maximise the impact of your advertising budget.

How do you know which advertising programs you try are working the best?

For each ad that you try, make sure that you track it so you can assess itís effectiveness for your business. Donít rely on your friendsí results as different businesses and different locations require different advertising solutions.

Things like Ďword of mouthí, networking, location (for a shop) and search engine will always be available to you, so donít forget to track these as well. These are all areas that can be worked on and improved as well, but letís just concentrate on ads for now.

When tracking ads, you need to record how many people come to you through that ad, how many actually spend money with you and how many have become repeat customers (if applicable.)

Having run an ad and collecting the data, how can you tell which ad to run again?

It is important to note that an ad usually needs to be run in the same publication more than once for significant results. Ideally, test your ad for at least 3, but preferably 6, editions of the media. People are more likely to use a business if they have heard of it a few times than on the first contact, so give them that security.

Set up a chart that lists all the advertising you have done. Beside each option, record the number of prospects, the number of sales, the number of exposures (how many times you ran the ad) and the cost of the advertising.

It could be easy to assume the ad bringing in the most number of people is the ad to repeat, but this may not be so.

Letís use an example.

Mary placed two ads in two different magazines at the same cost. Ad A brought 500 people to her shop and they spent a total of $1,000. Ad B brought 300 people to her shop and they spent a total of $1,800.

Obviously, Mary wants more people in her shop willing to spend money so she should repeat ad B over ad A.

Consider if Ad A had cost Mary only $100 and Ad B had cost had $1,000 for the same number of editions.

Thus, ad A made Mary a profit of $900 ($1,000 in sales less the $100 ad) and ad B made her a profit of $800. Now, Mary may consider than Ad A is more cost effective for her and will run that one again.

There is more to advertising than choosing where to place ads, however.

Ad A was cost effective for Mary but it didnít bring in a lot of customers ready to spend a lot of money. If she changed the ad, maybe she could attract more sales through the ad, making it even more cost effective for her. 

Mary decides that the heading was a bit boring and that she could improve the special offer in the ad. If she does both of these and sales increase to $1,500 (compared to $1,000 last time) Mary doesnít know if it was the heading or the offer that worked.

A better option would be to re run the ad with only the heading changed and see what happens. After perhaps 4 editions, she could then try it with the new offer and old heading and watch the results.

When testing headings and copy for ads, change only one thing at a time for realistic results.

Once Mary sees which ad is most effective, she can re use it and possibly place it in other magazines to see if that boosts her sales as well.

Remember when placing ads that the results can be different when you change media. For instance the ad that works really well in a business magazine may need to be reworded to be successful in an accounting journal.

It isnít hard to assess which ads do and donít work for your business, as long as you keep track of where your customers are coming from. Look at all the factors and use your advertising budget wisely.


Tash Hughes is the owner of Word Constructions and is available to solve all your business writing problems! From letters to policies, newsletters to web content, Word Constructions writes all business documents to your style and satisfaction.


This article is available for free use on your web site or in your newsletter.

It must be acknowledged as written by Tash Hughes of www.wordconstructions.com.au and copyright remains the property of Tash Hughes.

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© 2003 - 12, Tash Hughes